NBA Notes: Nets, Celts reportedly pull off blockbuster

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NBA Notes: Nets, Celts reportedly pull off blockbuster

According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets and Celtics have agreed to a blockbuster deal that sends Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn.

Jason Terry will also head from the Celtics to the Nets in the trade.

Wojnarowski reports that the package moving from Brooklyn to Boston contains Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Kris Joseph, Reggie Evans and three first-round picks (2014, 2016 and 2018). The Nets will also do a sign-and-trade involving guard Keith Bogans.

Garnett waived his no-trade clause to get the deal completed.

The trade can not become official until July 10, when the league's salary cap is set for next season.

Looking to start from scratch, the Celtics will benefit from obtaining three future first-round picks. The Nets, under the ownership of Mikhail Prokhorov, have looked to make flashy moves, and acquiring Garnett, Pierce and Terry certainly falls under that banner. 

Lakers: Howard unlikely to return to L.A.
Despite the Lakers' pleas to keep Dwight Howard with giant signs outside Staples Center, it appears as if the enigmatic center may not be keen on returning.

Howard, who is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, is leaning towards bolting from Los Angeles, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard.

Broussard reported Thursday that the Lakers have little chance of re-signing Howard, primarily due to his frustration with Mike D'Antoni's system.  Broussard also reports that Houston and Dallas remain the favorites for Howard's services next season.

Howard played 76 games this season for the Lakers, averaging 17.1 points and 12.4 rebounds in 35.8 minutes per game. The Lakers acquired the seven-time All-Star in a four-team deal last offseason involving the Denver Nuggets, Sixers, and Orlando Magic. 

Despite the hype that surrounded Howard's arrival in L.A., the Lakers went 45-37 and were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the San Antonio Spurs.

Blazers: Aldridge reportedly wants out
According to Jason Quick of the Oregonian (via ProBasketball Talk), LaMarcus Aldridge wants out of Portland because it's too small and too boring.

While Quick says he believes Portland GM Neil Olshey doesn't want to move the power forward, there remains a belief that Olshey is in a precarious situation with the potential of Aldridge walking in the summer of 2015.

Aldridge averaged 21.1 points and 9.1 rebounds last season in 37.7 minutes per game. But despite his success, Portland still missed the playoffs falling 12 games back of the eighth-seeded Houston Rockets.

Sixers fight 'from the beginning,' end road trip with win over Nets

Sixers fight 'from the beginning,' end road trip with win over Nets

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK -- There were plenty of times when both teams could have given up. Between 12 ties and 21 lead changes, the Sixers' 106-101 win over the Nets on Tuesday could have gone either way.

In the end, it was the Sixers who dug down to close out the final minute of the game and final game of a five-city road trip to go back to Philadelphia with a victory (see Instant Replay).

The Sixers bounced back from Sunday’s 13-point loss to the Pacers by grinding it out against the Nets, who had been 5-5 in their last 10 games.

"They stayed together," Brett Brown said. "We got down, it was a fistfight for most of the game. We found a way to execute at the end, close it out at the end."

The Sixers trailed 101-100 and held the Nets scoreless in the final 2:29. In a collective effort, they scored their final six points off a layup by Robert Covington and free throws by T.J. McConnell and Richaun Holmes.

This was a redemption game for Dario Saric, who shot 3 for 15 against the Pacers. The rookie had said he wouldn't let his struggles linger, and he erased them with a team-high 23 points (8 for 15 from the field) and seven rebounds.

Saric locked in on improving by spending his off day in New York City taking care of his body with physical therapy and a massage and staying in his hotel room to prepare.

"It is a reflection of his competitiveness," Brown said. "When he’s down, he finds a way to get back up quite quickly and we need him to."

Brown also pointed to the importance of Covington, in addition to Saric, having a strong night for the team be successful. Covington recorded his 12th double-double of the season with 21 points and 13 rebounds.

"The margin for error is tiny," Brown said. "When you look at links to pair up with our wins, it's certainly Dario and it's a really close second. We need Robert right next to him performing well."

The Sixers toughed out this game with nine players. Jahlil Okafor (left knee soreness), Gerald Henderson (left hip soreness) and Sergio Rodriguez (left hamstring strain) did not play.  

The combination of injuries and the foul trouble of Holmes and Shawn Long equated to Brown calling on Tiago Splitter to make his season debut. Splitter had not played since Jan. 30, 2016. He underwent hip surgery and then battled with a right calf injury.

Splitter's eagerness was evident. He scored on his first shot attempt, fought to the ground for a loose ball, and finished the game with two points, three rebounds and a block in 7:23.

"It's a happy day for me today," Splitter said. "I didn't think about [the injury]. I just played, and I think that's the way to do it."

Nik Stauskas slid into the backup point guard role behind McConnell in Rodriguez's absence. He finished with a plus-10 at the one spot.

"It's always been a next-guy-up mentality and everyone's always been ready to play and do their role," Stauskas said. "I think today's just a continuation of that."

The Sixers capped off their nine-day road trip with a victory and are going back to Philadelphia 2-3 on the five-state swing. 

"Finally, we win," Saric said. "We deserved this win. We fought from the beginning."

Best of NBA: Hassan Whiteside beats buzzer with tip-in, pushes Heat over Pistons

Best of NBA: Hassan Whiteside beats buzzer with tip-in, pushes Heat over Pistons

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Hassan Whiteside tipped in a shot at the buzzer to lift the Miami Heat over the Detroit Pistons 97-96 on Tuesday night.

Miami is a game up on Chicago for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and 2 1/2 games ahead of Detroit.

Whiteside jumped over Andre Drummond to tip in Goran Dragic's missed jumper. The final play was reviewed and confirmed.

Dragic scored 28 points and Whiteside finished with 17 points and nine rebounds for the Heat (36-38).

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 25 points and Tobias Harris and Ish Smith each scored 19 for the Pistons (34-41). Detroit lost its fifth straight and eighth in nine games (see full recap).

Curry's 32 lead Warriors to win over Rockets
HOUSTON -- Stephen Curry scored 32 points, Klay Thompson had 25 and the Golden State Warriors built a big lead early and held on for a 113-106 win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.

The Warriors scored 37 points in the first quarter and never trailed on the way to their eighth straight victory and 60th this season.

Golden State led by eight after a pair of free throws by Curry with just over three minutes left. Patrick Beverley countered with a tip-in layup for Houston, then was fouled when he was knocked to the ground on a screen by Draymond Green seconds later.

James Harden missed a layup on the next possession before Green added a shot on the other end to put the Warriors up 107-99.

Another layup miss by Harden followed, and Curry made a 3-pointer with 1:46 left to send fans streaming to the exits (see full recap).

Rubio's late free throws help Minnesota end skid at Indiana
INDIANAPOLIS -- Ricky Rubio made three free throws with 3.4 seconds left to give the Minnesota Timberwolves a 115-114 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night.

Minnesota snapped a season-high six-game losing streak by taking its only lead of the quarter. Rubio had 21 points and 10 assists, and Karl-Anthony Towns had 37 points and 12 rebounds.

Rubio was fouled by Jeff Teague, though it appeared Rubio ran into his own teammate on the play. Indiana fans booed the officials as they left the court.

Indiana's Monta Ellis got off a last-second 3-point shot, but he was off the mark.

Paul George scored 37 points to lead the Pacers, whose playoff chances took another hit. Teague had 20 points and 10 assists (see full recap).

Snell scores 26 points, Bucks beat Hornets
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Tony Snell scored a season-high 26 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 20 points and eight rebounds and the Milwaukee Bucks handed the Charlotte Hornets' playoff hopes a potentially devastating blow with a 118-108 victory on Tuesday night.

Malcolm Brogdon had 14 points and 10 assists for his second double-double of the season, and the Bucks won for the 12th time in 15 games.

Snell finished 10 of 14 from the field and had four 3-pointers.

Charlotte (33-41) entered in 11th place in the Eastern Conference but only two games behind the Miami Heat and in dire need of a win with only nine games remaining (see full recap).